The Alzheimer’s Association (1) states that Alzheimer’s is the sixth leading cause of death worldwide. And this number is expected to continue growing. Currently, around 32% of adults in the U.S. take brain supplements to support their memory. Many people ask if taking supplements that support brain health and memory could help lower these numbers. While there are no straightforward answers, studies have shown that some ingredients in supplements positively affect your brain health.
Do you need to take Memory and brain health supplements?
Brain and memory supplements, also known as nootropics, are simply ways to increase their memory when they can’t get all the vitamins they need from a regular diet. These supplements help to boost memory, improve motivation, creativity, and cognitive functions. One study found that taking certain supplements improved brain function (2) in nurses who took vitamin A and E supplements.
How Are Memory and Brain Supplements Beneficial?
An article published in 2019 (3) suggests many things to keep your brain healthy, such as exercising regularly, socializing, and doing brain-boosting things like crossword puzzles. With our busy lifestyles, it’s difficult to get all the different vitamins we need, and this is why brain and memory supplements are essential. Nootropics are designed to give us the number of micronutrients our bodies need to improve memory and brain function.
What to look for in brain health and memory supplements
Ingredients are one of the primary factors in choosing the best brain supplements. You should only purchase memory supplements that contain natural ingredients. The second thing that you should take into consideration is the manufacturer. You want one that is made by reputable manufacturers who are well known for their quality products. You also need to ensure that your memory and brain supplements have a Quality Assurance certificate and the manufacturer with at least five years of experience.
Some crucial ingredients you want to look for in a memory supplement are listed below. Keep in mind that the vitamin doesn’t have to contain all the elements because that would be nearly impossible, but you do want one that has at least one of them.
Choline (4) is an essential nutrient that may have a positive impact on neurological disorders and liver disease. It also has promised to improve short-term memory and attention in adults.
Zinc (5) is an essential trace mineral that has a positive impact on our health in many ways. This dietary supplement may benefit individuals who help individuals who have dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. It has also been shown to benefit those who have diabetes. One thing that you must keep in mind about zinc is that taking too much can have adverse effects.
Gingko biloba leaves have been used for centuries in herbal medicines. In the last few years, it has become more prevalent in helping to alleviate symptoms in cognitive impairment (6) in older adults. Alzheimer’s disease is one of the most common brain disorders that affect older adults. A study (7) conducted in 2019 has shown to improve both memory and age-related loss of cognitive function.
There has been some evidence indicating that flavonoids can significantly increase brain function (8) and memory in older adults. Some areas were overlooked, such as prospective and implicit memory, though the tests have been encouraging and further testing is needed.
Cocoa and chocolate have not only proven benefits on memory and brain function (9) it also helps with depression. These molecules enter the brain and stimulate many areas. The main area where it has shown benefits associated with memory and learning. The flavonoids help with memory associated with dementia and lower the risk of Alzheimer’s
There is no denying that caffeine helps with energy, but it has also improved cognitive memory. Research done by Johns Hopkins University (10) indicates that caffeine may enhance long-term memory. A study done in 2016 (11) shows positive effects on mental function, enhances executive skills and physical performance.
This herb helps promote cognitive function and improve brain health. A study done on 60 healthy adults showed improvement in their working memory. This study was done over four weeks, and they used various testing methods. Another study done in 2020 showed protective results in rates by decreasing oxidative stress and neuroinflammation. Another area that the study discovered is it helped improve memory and attention (12).
Many forms of B vitamins that help improve cognitive performance in older adults (13) are folate, B12, and B6. The reason these three are what researchers are most interested in is that they are the ones that most older adults show decencies in. All these minerals have positive effects on cognitive performance and mood enhancement.
This compound is found in turmeric and is well known for its anti-inflammatory properties. A review of different studies has shown that it may benefit your brain health and improve decision-making skills. A study published in the American Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry in 2018 (14) states that curcumin enhances verbal memory, visual memory, attention, and visual memory in older adults without dementia.
A study done in 2013 (15) on rats showed positive results in both short and long-term memory during passive avoidance tests. There is a promise that it can be a candidate for treatment for individuals with memory issues.
A research study from 2018 (16) found that these plants stimulate the nervous system, reduce anxiety, and helps increase energy. The research was collected from 36 studies on a total of 836 animals, and the results showed those given Rhodiola Rosea had a significant improvement in both long and short-term memory.
This is one of the main building blocks of protein in your body. Research has shown (17) that during high physical or psychological stress conditions, this mineral can help decline individuals’ memory. It is important to note that further testing needs to be done on the benefit of cognitive performance of L-Tyrosine. A study published in Frontiers in Behavioral Neuroscience (18) showed that L-Throsine showed the most benefits when people needed to multi-task or were under time limits. It lowered their stress and increased working memory. Only one study showed improvement in individuals who were not under high pressure. This supplement has had the best results with patients with early onset, which moves fast with those with dementia and Alzheimer’s.
Huperzine-A (19)is an alkaloid extracted from Huperzia serrate, a type of plant native to India in Southeast Asia. One meta-analysis conducted of 20 RCTs including nearly 2000 patients showed a slower cognitive decline with both Alzheimer’s and dementia.
Ingredients to Avoid in Nootropics
You need to avoid some ingredients in some memory supplements because there is no proof, they work. Some can be harmful when not taken correctly, or don’t talk to your doctor before taking them. Below you will find a list of ingredients you should avoid.
While some studies show that Procera AVH has some cognitive benefits, it does not improve an individual’s memory compared with those who took a placebo. This ingredient also can have adverse side effects (20) when taken with other medications.
Memory supplements that include Vincocetine (21) can call miscarriages or harm a fetus when taken by pregnant women. This is a synthetic ingredient and could be labeled as Vinca minor extract, lesser periwinkle extract, or periwinkle extract. This is not considered to be an herb and should not be classified as one.
This ingredient was developed in Russia (22) and is used in many memory supplements to help improve learning and brain function. While some studies have been done on it, there is not enough evidence to consider it safe and is not approved to be legally sold as a supplement. Other ingredients that are similar to Noopept are listed below.
Where research has shown that DHEA does improve memory, the side effects are not worth the risk. It has been shown to increase the risk of some types of cancers, including prostate, breast, and ovarian cancers. In addition to the side effects, there has also been evidence of possible drug interactions.
Can a tablet really boost your memory?
Yes, a tablet can boost your memory. This is especially true if you have a deficiency of a specific memory or nutrient. It is challenging to get everything your body needs, no matter how healthy you are. The biggest reason for this is because of how fruits and vegetables are purchased. Years ago, most people bought their foods from farmers’ markets or grew them themselves. We go to the local grocery store, and many of the nutrients are lost in the cleaning process.
According to Scientific American, (23) the food you’re eating today isn’t as healthy as it used to be because of how it’s being grown. The soil isn’t as rich as it used to be, and growers are growing more crops faster. This doesn’t mean there isn’t any nutritious value in the foods you’re eating, just not as much as there used to be.
Benefits of Brain Supplements
There are many benefits to taking brain supplements in addition to improving your memory. While all nootropics are designed to enhance your cognitive performance, the ingredients in the accessories also have other proven benefits.
- Improve Memory and Brain Health
- Improve Decision Making Skills
- Increased Attention
- Improve mood and reduce oxidation caused by stress
The main reason people purchase brain supplements is to increase their working memory. This allows you to learn and remember things much easier.
When your head is clear and you’re focused, you can make better decisions.
Brain supplements will help you to stay focused on your task. This will keep your mind from wandering so you can complete the job quickly.
Some ingredients in memory supplements create dopamine and serotonin and help lower oxidative stress allowing opening blood vessels to flow easier to the brain.
Ways to Naturally Improve Your Brain Health
There are many ways you can help support your brain health and may delay the early onset of dementia and Alzheimer’s.
- Exercising Your brain
- Exercise Regularly
- Eat a Healthy Diet
Activities such as meditation, brain games, crossword puzzles, and word searches help to keep your brain sharp and working well. A study (24) of 12,000 subjects between the ages of 60 and 80 was chosen to see if using cognitive mobile games helped their cognitive function. There was a notable improvement in all the subjects.
Exercise is an excellent way to increase your focus and relieve stress naturally. According to Harvard Health Publishing, (25) exercising helps stimulate physiological changes such as inflation and helps improve the health of new and current brain cells.
We all know that what you eat benefits both your mind and your body. It’s essential to eat foods rich in Omega 3, DHA, and EPA. All of these helps increase your brain health and improve your memory. According to an article by Kaiser Permanente, (26) our brain uses more than 20% of our calories.
There are many foods that you can eat to help improve your brain function.
- Dark chocolate
- Green tea
- Fatty fish
Ask your doctor to perform yearly blood work to make sure all of your levels are healthy. If there are any that aren’t, ask about any supplements she may recommend.
Not only is drinking too much and smoking bad for your physical health it also increases your likelihood of having early-onset dementia.
People Who Should Take Brain Supplements
Most people could benefit from taking brain and memory pills, but only after talking to their healthcare provider. When we are under stress, we have trouble with our memory, focus, and decision-making skills. Those unable to eat the daily recommendation of fruits and vegetables should take supplements.
The excellent news about nootropics is almost everyone can benefit from taking them from students to adults. Everyone can use a boost in their brain function. While different supplements will affect your brain differently, you should ask your physician which would work best for you.
How to Select the Best Brain Health and Memory Supplements
We know how essential it is that when you look for a memory pill, you want one that works. Who wants to throw away money on a supplement that says it works and then does nothing? Therefore, we spent countless hours going through hundreds of brain-boosting supplements that only consist of ingredients backed by scientific evidence.
We considered many different factors when creating our list, including:
The first thing we looked at was the ingredients. We went through each one to make sure they were not only safe but worked. When taking supplements, you want only natural ingredients whose primary focus is finding a way to help you.
We looked for DMAE, Bacopa, Ginko Biloba, and other ingredients that clinical studies have verified. We also looked at the dosage of each ingredient to ensure it wasn’t too high and matched the doses used in clinical trials.
Adverse Side Effects
When considering the different memory enhancers, we wanted to ensure that there were no harmful side effects. This in no way means you shouldn’t talk to your doctor before taking them. You should always ask your doctor before taking anything that is not prescribed.
You do not want to purchase supplements from a company that is just coming onto the market. The main reason for this is you don’t want to take chances on your health. We looked for companies that have been around for at least five years or longer. Then we researched the company. We wanted to know if there were any complaints to the Better Business Bureau about them and if we eliminated them.
We also wanted companies with good customer support and a clear money-back guarantee that they honored. We also investigated how the company manufactured the supplement and how they obtained their ingredients.
Product reviews are one of the best indicators of how products work. We wanted reviews from actual customers. We needed to know if the product worked, if they saw the benefits, any side effects they may have experienced, and if it was worth the money.
When purchasing something, you want to make sure you are getting a good product that works. We know that higher prices don’t always mean a better product. We did not immediately discount any products that cost more. Instead, we weighed out the benefits to see if it was worth the price.
Our Top Picks
This nootropic supplement is certified (27) drug-free, which is one of the main reasons it is our top pick. It is reassuring to know that your supplement is high quality and suitable for athletes, animals, and consumers.
This brain supplement is one of the few that have had proven results in a controlled trial (28). The outcome of this study was that Alpha Brain significantly improved verbal memory.
The main ingredients in Alpha Brain are
This heart helps with receiving nerve signals and has been shown to help make better choices quickly. It also helps to reduce anxiety.
This plant extract found primarily in the Amazon may help prevent and reduce brain plaques and tangles. In several placebo-controlled studies, (29) individuals taking cat claws showed a significant memory increase than those who used placebos.
This ingredient helps to break down acetylcholine and has powerful neuroprotective properties. (30)
Side effects are rare, but there are six of them you should watch for.
- Nausea – you may experience this the first few days of taking this nootropic, but once your body becomes accustomed to it, it will subside.
- Headaches – if this happens, you should increase your fluid intake, and it should subside.
- Anxiety or Jittery – this one is uncommon but is still possible. This most often happens if the memory pill contains caffeine. Since Alpha Brain doesn’t, you shouldn’t have to worry about this.
The benefits of this supplement are that it helps you produce not only energy but also reserve it. It helps to improve mental functioning, lower anxiety, and helps with decision-making skills.
We liked this company because they don’t have harmful chemicals and it’s safe for consumption. It’s made in the USA in a facility that is FDA certified. The company has a long-standing good reputation. Plus, there are little to no side effects.
The main ingredients found in this supplement are
This ingredient may help the brain increase its production of acetylcholine, (31) which is a primary neurotransmitter that helps with learning and memory. It has also been found to help people to remain focused.
This is an amino acid that is essential for brain function. A study conducted in 2017 on rats showed that those who took the supplement glutamate had a significant https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/28655701/ (32) improvement in their memory. DMAE is also responsible for muscle tone.
L-tyrosine is used to make both serotonin and dopamine. These two hormones help with your mood, causing a decrease in oxidative stress and increasing oxygen to the brain, increasing your memory.
The only side effect found in this brain supplement is that nursing or pregnant mothers should avoid it.
The brain is tailor-made for people to reach peak performance. It claims to eliminate brain fog, helps to increase your energy, boosts your memory, and helps make better choices, all while improving your ability to learn.
There are a few reasons we chose this nootropic. It was clinically tested and has been approved to help with cognitive studies. It has had testing done to confirm there are no side effects, plus it is 100% natural.
The main ingredients found in this supplement are
This ingredient is water-based and provides the brain with the nutrition to boost mental health and reduce brain fog. It also helps to increase the neurotransmitter acetylcholine, which allows secreting the hormones serotonin and dopamine. Cotnizin has been found to improve overall memory performance.(33)
Synapse is a form of Bacopa monnieri that helps boost mental recall and minimize forgetfulness. A study done in 2002 (34) found that an increase in synapses improves learning, and the individuals retain what they learned.
This also enzyme is a fatty substance that helps to protect cells located in the brain, helping to improve cognitive function. A study conducted in 2010 (35) found that older adults with mild mental issues showed significant improvement when given phosphatidylserine for six months.
NooCube contains a blend of nootropics that help to improve your memory, cognitive function, and memory. Increasing your memory also helps with communication because you don’t take as long to form a response.
This product is designed by neuroscientists and uses only the best and safest ingredients. They have all been tested for safety and have clinical research that backs up their claims. It doesn’t contain any caffeine in this supplement to avoid the side effects that caffeine may cause.
The main ingredient in this vitamin is
This ingredient is believed to increase the neurotransmitter acetylcholine. This chemical communicates to your brain that it is learning and needs to retain what it is learning.
Oat Straw comes from wild oats and has been used to improve memory for hundreds of years. This is believed to work by increasing alpha waves in the brain, which helps decrease inflammation. This, in turn, helps increase blood flow because there’s an increase of oxygen getting to your brain, helping prevent brain fog and increase your attention.
There are no known side effects of this vitamin, but it is essential to contact your medical provider to make sure before starting it.
This all-natural supplement has no additives or synthetic ingredients. It claims to improve both concentration and memory by relieving stress and increasing blood circulation. The manufacturer of this nootropic is zenith labs which has a record of developing high quality supplements.
The main ingredients if Brain C-13 are
Turmeric contains curcumin which has a proven history of being an anti-inflammatory and an antioxidant. One of the main causes of Alzheimer’s (36) is the accumulation of plaque. The curcumin within this root delayed degradation of neurons which helped to increase memory in those with the Alzheimer’s disease.
This root works as a neuroprotector which helps to prevent damage to the brain cells improving its overall health. Rhodiola Rosea has many antioxidant properties due to the salidroside it contains. There may be beneficial effects on fatigue and cognitive function. It also has potential as a therapeutic role for the Alzheimer’s disease. (37)
Rosemary leaf is a shrub that is often used as a seasoning for cooking. This herb benefits individuals in many ways (38) such as depression, aids in memory, learning and as therapy in Alzheimer’s disease. In addition to having positive benefits on depression it has also showed to lower both stress and anxiety.
Q: What are Brain and Memory Support Supplements?
A: Brain and memory support supplements are compounds that help to improve cognitive functioning. This includes working memory, focus, and making decisions.
Q: What are Brain Supplements Used for?
A: Nootropics help with your ability to think, work, memory remember and make decisions. They do this in many ways. Some do this by increasing levels of hormones others do this by increasing blood flow to the brain the way they work depends on their ingredients.
Q: What are the Benefits of Brain and Memory Supplements?
A: Some of the benefits of brain supplements are to help with brain fog, increase your memory be better able to focus on tasks.
Q: Are they Effective and Safe?
A: It is hard to generalize all the different ingredients found in memory supplements but so far there have been not to have side effects and have not caused adverse reactions that many supplements have found to. In general, yes, they are safe. There have been numerous clinical studies done on the different ingredients contained in the supplements and no serious reactions have occurred. Remember you must research the ingredients and consult your family physician before starting any new vitamins.
When used properly they are a safe and effective way to help with brain health and memory.
Q: Are brain supplements addictive?
A: The supplements that are purchased over the counter are not addictive. This exception to this is if they contain caffeine. Too much caffeine can cause withdrawal which leads to fatigue, headaches and anxiety.
I hope this overview will help you make an educated choice of the best supplement for you. Make sure you always do your own homework and go over the ingredients in supplements and consult your doctor before taking them. Once you purchase the right one for you you should notice a difference within the first few weeks.
At Wellness Digest, our sourcing guidelines are strict and we only use primary references for our articles including peer-reviewed studies, academic research institutions, and medical associations. You can learn more about how we ensure our content is accurate and current by reading our editorial policy.
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